Wednesday, February 6, 2008
THE BIG KAHUNA: MICHIGAN vs. MIAMI
We've got ourselves a marquee matchup here this week. Hell, more than marquee this might just be one of the biggest regular season matchups in the history of College Hockey (I admit that's not saying much, but give credit where it's due) the Redhawks vs. the Wolverines
On paper this looks like Miami should win this one, albeit w/ a degree of difficulty, but still they look like they should win. They haven't lost in a month, they're 11-2 at there brand new home the Goggin Ice center, they haven't lost there since an embarrasing downfall to Alaska on December 8. They also have clearly the better goaltender in Jeff Zatkoff, quite possibly the best goalie in college hockey right now. The team has two 20 goal scorers already in Justin Mercier and Ryan Jones, to counter w/ Michigan's one in Kevin Porter, who hasn't played his best hockey against good goalies this season.
That's the way things look. However appearences can be decieving.
Sure Michigan's had to deal w/ the mysterious problems of Kevin Quick, and that seemed to come as a sudden shock to the team losing one of their primary sweeper defensemen. However this doesn't mean that Michigan is gonna be down and out in this series. Red Berenson has admitted to the press that he failed to keep the guys from getting focused on the Northern series cause they were looking ahead to Miami. Who can blame em, Michigan fans have been looking forward to Miami ever since it became clear Billy Sauer was gonna be good this season. Which brings me to the X-factor of the series.
Billy Sauer in the past two years had to be the most reviled goalie in Michigan hockey history, certainly the most since Red Berenson came here to coach. Most people including quite possibly Coach Red himself thought that it would be beneficial to rotate him w/ freshman Bryan Hogan. This of course was before Hogan caught mono and ended up sitting out the first 2 months.
Hogan actually started last saturday and looked kinda shakey at parts, especially on the penalty kill, it didn't help that the team committed a lotta penalties though. Sauer so far has a perfect 2-0 record in games coming off of being rested by Hogan, granted Hoagie won both of the first two, something he didn't do last saturday. For other reference he's also undefeated when playing games after a WOLV broadcast, seriously.
Oddly enough another thing that may help Michigan is that they're on the road. Michigan has yet to lose on the road this season, granted their game against Minnesota at the Xcel centre didn't count as a road game (can somebody please explain how that works?). The problem with that is that Michigan hasn't played a team like Miami on the road yet, and they're still adjusting to what'll happen w/o Quick, tune in for the next blog, when i predict what'll happen, reflect on Quick, and rant about Yost Ice Arena.